Murray handed Australian Open wildcard

By Sports Desk December 27, 2020

Andy Murray will take part in February's delayed Australian Open after being awarded a main-draw wildcard.

The five-time runner-up last competed in the tournament in 2019 when playing what he thought might be his final match as a professional.

Murray lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round and missed the rest of that season's grand slams, as well as the following year's competition in Melbourne.

However, the former world number one - plagued by a chronic hip injury - made his grand slam return at the US Open in September and also competed in the French Open weeks later.

Now ranked 122 in the world, Murray will be drafted into the draw for the 2021 Australian Open, which is due to begin on February 8 after a delay because of coronavirus factors.

"We welcome Andy back to Melbourne with open arms," tournament director Craig Tiley said on Sunday.

"As a five-time finalist, he has been an integral part of so many amazing matches and storylines in the recent history of the Australian Open.

"His retirement was an emotional moment and seeing him come back, having undergone major surgery and built himself back up to get onto the tour again, will be a highlight of AO 2021.

"We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him in 2021."

Murray has also accepted a wildcard to compete at the ATP event in Delray Beach, Florida, in the first week of January, where he will join the likes of John Isner and Milos Raonic.

The 33-year-old enters the 2021 season on the back of wins at the 'Battle of the Brits' event against Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans earlier this month.

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    The 33-year-old claimed his first ATP Tour victory in six months on Monday, winning 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 over fellow wildcard Robin Haase in just under two and a half hours at the Rotterdam Open.

    The past few years for Murray, who missed last month's Australian Open after testing positive to COVID-19, have seen him battle hip issues, before getting a metal cap inserted to strengthen the area.

    Since then, the Scot been unable to reach the levels that previously saw him win major titles and be world number one, leading to constant calls for him to retire, particularly on social media.

    "Actually, I deleted it, I don't have Twitter on my phone and I deleted Instagram last week, not because of that [the retirement comments]," Murray said.

    "You see those things on Instagram and social media if you're on it, obviously and if you have the app on your phone but I'd watched a while ago that Social Dilemma movie.

    "I thought it was brilliant and then actually, a couple of days after my match last week I watched an interview with all the people that were responsible for making that and I was like, 'Yeah, I’m done'. I deleted that off my phone but yes, it's tough."

    Murray admitted his return from his injury battles had been physically taxing, while the mental toll had not been easy to handle either.

    However, he felt he performed well enough to offer him no genuine reason to want to retire from the Tour.

    "Since I came back and started playing with the metal hip, I’ve beaten some pretty good players," he said.

    "I beat Stan [Wawrinka], I beat [Matteo] Berrettini, I beat [Alex] Zverev. I served for the match against [Fabio] Fognini. These are top players that I was playing against and competing well against and physically now I'm in a better place than I was then.

    "I've put in a lot of good physical work since then so why should I stop because I lost a match last week against someone [Egor Gerasimov] that people would expect me to win against.

    "Everyone out there can play and because I'm not on the top of my game just now, and once I get there I believe I'll win matches more competitively.

    "Why should I stop? Tell me a good reason for why I should stop playing. I can still compete with the best players in the world with one hip. I think that's quite amusing really."

  • Murray battles back to beat Haase in Rotterdam Murray battles back to beat Haase in Rotterdam

    Andy Murray produced a stirring comeback in the final set to overcome fellow wildcard Robin Haase at the Rotterdam Open on Monday.  

    Murray, who was dumped out in the first round of last week's Open Sud de France, hit 33 winners on his way to a 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 triumph – his first tour-level victory since the 2020 US Open.  

    The Scot got off to a slow start and found himself 4-1 down in the first set, with home favourite Haase comfortably seeing things out from there in the opener.  

    Murray needed a tie-break to take the second set before finding himself 3-0 down in the decider. However, he put together a stunning six-game run to claim a fifth career victory over Haas in six meetings.

    Next up will be either number four seed Andrey Rublev or qualifier Marcos Giron in the second round. 

    Elsewhere, Kei Nishikori ended a run of four straight defeats with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 victory over seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a clash against Alex de Minaur or John Millman.  

    "It was a very tight game, he was serving great especially in the first set and he won a lot on first serve," Nishikori said. "I played solidly in the tie-break and served well on the last couple of points. It was easier in the second set, with his injury, but I was more comfortable and striking the ball better." 

    Murray's compatriot Cameron Norrie, meanwhile, cruised past Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0 6-3 and will play Stan Wawrinka or Karen Khachanov in the next round. 

  • Murray comes from behind to beat Haase in Rotterdam Murray comes from behind to beat Haase in Rotterdam

    Andy Murray produced a stirring comeback in the final set to overcome fellow wildcard Robin Haase at the Rotterdam Open on Monday.  

    Murray, who was dumped out in the first round of last week's Open Sud de France, hit 33 winners on his way to a 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 triumph – his first tour-level victory since the 2020 US Open.  

    The Scot got off to a slow start and found himself 4-1 down in the first set, with home favourite Haase comfortably seeing things out from there in the opener.  

    Murray needed a tie-break to take the second set before finding himself 3-0 down in the decider. However, he put together a stunning six-game run to claim a fifth career victory over Haas in six meetings.

    Next up will be either number four seed Andrey Rublev or qualifier Marcos Giron in the second round. 

    Elsewhere, Kei Nishikori ended a run of four straight defeats with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 victory over seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime to set up a clash against Alex de Minaur or John Millman.  

    "It was a very tight game, he was serving great especially in the first set and he won a lot on first serve," Nishikori said. "I played solidly in the tie-break and served well on the last couple of points. It was easier in the second set, with his injury, but I was more comfortable and striking the ball better." 

    Murray's compatriot Cameron Norrie, meanwhile, cruised past Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0 6-3 and will play Stan Wawrinka or Karen Khachanov in the next round. 

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